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Outstanding Community Service 2012-2013

Name: Lebanese American University

Address: Lebanon


Throughout the academic year, the chapter’s aim was to approach computer science students and broaden their perspective, knowledge and interest in their major.
Concerning the chapter’s introduction to new students and recruitment, a short presentation was made at the beginning of all computer science courses with an emphasis on students newly enrolled in the program.
The chapter was promoted as a means to offer computer science students a chance to make the most out of their major.
The chapter made sure to be present in all computer-science related events, whether it was hosting them or not, and represent the ACM in them.

Now that the year is almost over, we can proudly say being officers for the chapter was a very enjoyable experience. Our chapter was fun for all our members and everyone wanted in the end to get involved in the fun and contribute, and that is why we excelled in terms of recruiting additional members and getting motivated people submit ideas and help with lectures, demonstrations, teaching, broadening our perspective, or simply just attending and having fun.
We hope to have set a standard for the next chapter officers to come.

Essay:


            After we were elected officers this year, we started the year by advertising about the chapter to all computer science students and planned our first events. As computer science students, we wanted an opportunity for organizing events and workshops we ourselves would like to attend, and in addition, wanted to help new students get a head-start in their major and most importantly make computing more fun (even if it already is)  and more social.
            We planned and announced our first event the second week of the first semester, and started advertising for it and spreading the word; basically making it seem important and showing students that they can’t miss it! Once the event was executed, a big number of students attended, and showed their motivation and enthusiasm for future events: It was fun and entertaining. This initiated a year-long chain of ACM chapter events listed below.

            Most of the events were workshop-type lectures and tutorials that spanned several weeks, an hour a lecture, with the average number of attendees being about 30. Since our members have different interests, we emphasized on varying the nature of events, trying to give something for everyone. We made sure the department offered refreshments and cookies for the attendees :)

            The chapter became gained popularity in the department for being helpful in event planning, and creating events on its own initiative, and among its students since the benefits of becoming chapter members could not be ignored: There were many tutorials, lectures, etc...
            Therefore, the number of chapter members grew considerably in comparison to previous years.
            The chapter also was active in Lebanese groups for Linux and general programming forums, and was known for hosting events such as the Linux workshops. The initiative also included helping high-school students that consider majoring in computer-science later, in addition to our current students.

 



ACM international events (Regional & Community Service)

Hosted the regional ACM-ICPC

LAU has proudly hosted the regional ACM-ICPC in its Beirut campus in Fall 2011. We had two teams participating. Our ushers worked hard to make the event successful, by driving all participants from the airport to their hotels, then to the university, and at the end of the event they drove them back to the airport. Our chapter website also included a section for the registration of all participating teams and to help them with accommodation with guides on Hotels surrounding the university. Some of our members were contestants, while others guided participants on campus, and also helped during the contest by distributing balloons and helping with some proctoring and distributing printed codes.

ACM-ICPC Training

Since the LAU participates in the regional and local ACM-ICPC, the LAU ACM chapter organized training sessions for the contests, once a week for a lab session where we explain some basic methods and approaches that help in competitive environments. We also managed to solve old problems and made local LAU contests so that the contestants get used to the environment and the pressure.

Local ACM-ICPC

            After organizing the Regional ACM-ICPC for two consecutive years and the local ACM-ICPC for three consecutive years all in the LAU, this year's local contest was held at the American University of Science and Technology and our chapter aided their faculty, staff and students with the organization of the event.

ACM Chapter Website

            We also provided computer science students a chance to view tutorials on our website. The website is still partially done, but we still managed to finish most of it due to the pressure of study from our courses. We provided extra tutorials for HTML and Java, and we are planning on providing even more tutorials, and make the website more interactive.

University Events Organized or Co-Organized

YOU@LAU

            This is an event held at the university on 4 consecutive days for prospective students that are still in high-school. The department provides an explanation about what is computer science and the courses need. ACM Chapter played a role here by providing a presentation the activities we do during the year and about the ACM to high-school students.

Linux Workshop

            We also hosted a Linux workshop for a day. We brought a Gentoo contributor who gave us a lecture about Gentoo and Operating systems in general, and in depth tutorial about Linux and about how it can be used in our daily lives which was a great event hosted by the ACM Chapter. Many people came from all around the country such as IT professionals and postgraduate students.

Short-course by Pr. Michael R. Fellows

            Professor Michael Fellows of Charles Darwin University (Australia) accepted an invitation from the Department and offered a short course on Parametrized Complexity and Multivariate Algorithmics. The ACM chapter stood alongside the department with its presence and motivated attendees and helped with the organization.

Volunteer work

            The ACM Chapter also helped instructors with their daily activities such as becoming ushers at IEEE seminar held at LAU.

Windows vs Linux Debate
            A fun debate was initiated on the theme Windows vs Linux where many non-computer-science students attended. The main objective was to clear prejudice about Linux and to point out marketing and advertising strategies Microsoft uses. The event was repeated from last year due to popular demand.

Job opportunities

            We also provided students at our campus with job opportunities. Companies such as Seeqnce and Rifflex were directed to the ACM chapter and we invited them to give a presentation about their jobs and achievements in the market. Facebook and Google representatives also gave presentations about great student internships and job opportunities during the regional ACM-ICPC.

Open Source lecture

            We gave a lecture about Open source to students. We showed them the difference between Linux (and all its different distributions) and Windows at the level of operating systems, and then at the software level, comparing Openoffice with Microsoft office, also going through how Open source gives the users the source code, and they only have to compile them on their system, and about the concept of Copy-left.

Created An IRC Channel

Since most computer science students in LAU are interested in the ACM chapter, and are member of this chapter, we decided to create for them a channel on irc so that they would share their information, questions, and have a helpful programming atmosphere.

Hosted an ACM-ICPC level programming contest in the University

Part of the training of for the local and regional ACM-ICPCs was to host an official contest for the university. Our faculty created problems for the contest and the contest was held under the ACM chapter.

Tutorials

Game Programming

            Our first event of the chapter was game programming. This instantly boosted our popularity due to the common interest in gaming and game development among the students in our department, and in other departments. There were event people from other universities that came to attend since events of the sort are rare. The series of workshops started at the beginning of the fall semester until the beginning of the spring semester. Basically, the event was tutorials about the UDK engine and some 3D modeling and animation held on a weekly basis of 1h30. By the end of this event, students submitted the game they all worked on collaboratively after teaming up with each other.

Linux tutorials

            By the end of the fall semester, we started a Linux tutorial hosted by our former president. He emphasized on the simplicity of Linux systems and corrected the false accusations of it being terminal/command-line operating system. We worked mostly on Ubuntu 11.04 by showing how to download packages/programs via the terminal, software center, and synaptic package manager. At the end of this series of lectures, we distributed on CDs a copy of Linux Mint to attendees.

C/C++ Tutorials

            This series of tutorials are held on a weekly basis. They started with the comparison between C and other languages. We then delved into C and C++ syntax and the concept of pointers. We discussed with the attendees the benefits and disadvantages of C over Java, and of the many libraries offered for use.

Java GUI tutorials

            The chapter offered weekly 1-hour tutorials on GUI in Java. We started with the theoretical part of graphical user interface and explained why it is a crucial skill to have, specifically when wanting to market software. We then made practical lab sessions and sent code examples by email and posted them on the Facebook group.

Web programming

We have organized a one hour session per week for all students that would like to join about web programming. We first introduced html and talked about some basic and elementary html tags. We also started covering the css styling. Hopefully we will also cover some javascript, and some php coding all along the current semester.

Events for High-school students

Summer Camp for High-school students

            Our chapter volunteered to offer an introductory tutorial during the summer for high-school students prospecting of applying into computer science, during an event that the university hosted for such students. The ACM was introduced to these students and our work proved it to be an association for motivated computer science students.
            As we also mentioned before, high-school students were approached by the ACM chapter  when we made a presentation during “YOU@LAU”.